Ronald Kelly is a horror survivor. He cut his diabolical teeth in publishing in the nineties, working with Zebra doing paperback originals. When the bottom fell out of the market in the latter part of that decade, Kelly went on hiatus. There was no new fiction from the man for a long time, until around 2010. He was reportedly coaxed out of literary retirement by one of the field's most powerful individuals, Richard Chizmar.

I know that Ron is a man of faith, and that he has grappled with balancing that faith with horror. It cannot have been easy, especially in an arena when too many think it's the height of cleverness to mock the beliefs of others. I believe that Ron has come to terms with it all, and those of us who love horror are richer for it.

As with just about every horror lover, Halloween is very special to Ronald Kelly. He paid homage to his favorite holiday with a previous collection, Mister Glow-Bones and Other Halloween Tales. Now Ron is back to haunt his fans with another cool assemblage of Halloween stories.

The Halloween Store and Other Tales of All Hallows' Eve features seven stories and a pair of nostalgic essays, all of which celebrate the glorious month of October.

Ron's fiction is good old fun storytelling. No pretensions, no literary tricks. He likes to give his readers a shivery reading experience. I like it a lot, and I even felt like a little kid while reading it.

All the stories are enjoyable, but my favorite is the chilling Pretty Little Lanterns. I also really like the title piece a lot. Most of these would feel right at home in the old E.C comics, or as episodes of Creepshow or Tales from the Crypt.

Ron tops the book off with delightful memories of his youthful Halloween experiences.

This is exactly the kind of book to get you cooled off and ready to embrace October 31st. Most of us are far away from trick or treating age, but we can relive those times with The Halloween Store and Other Tales of All Hallows Eve.

Written by Mark Sieber

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